Senior Social Center members are ‘like family’ and working to expand activities and membership

Ashley Simonette, Direct Service Coordinator for the Northwest Colorado Center for Independence, will speak and learn at lunch Tuesday, January 17, 2023 at the Senior Social Center.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

Craig’s Senior Social Center at 775 Yampa Avenue started when a group of local seniors came together and said, “We need a place to hang out and do things.” Since then, the group has developed a vibrant community for seniors.

The Senior Social Center in the North Wing of the Yampa Building has a calendar full of activities for members throughout the month, and the center’s organizers want to expand these services.

Jackie Camp, a founding member of the Senior Social Center and now a part-time staffer, said the center aims to foster connections.

“One of the most important things for people is having a place to go to connect with other people,” Camp says.

In addition to various workout classes and card games, senior center staff would like to create more skill-building classes. Activities at the Center are driven by member interests, so residents are encouraged to share ideas and provide feedback.

The center has rooms with training equipment where members can access on-demand workout videos anytime, and classes are taught live. Camp says the center also has his GeriFit classes offered by Northwest Colorado Health, and any wellness or fitness class can be modified for different levels of mobility.

The yoga classes offered at the center are also open to all ability levels, with instruction in both chair yoga and traditional yoga. There are also Tai Chi and Qi Gong opportunities recommended by the house.

During the summer, the center takes members to the Craig Swimming Complex, and during the winter, members take a bus to Meeker twice a week to use the indoor pool at the Meeker Recreation Center.

Additionally, the main room of the Senior Social Center hosts art and drawing classes, crochet circles, lunch and learning, and a variety of card games.

“In art class, it doesn’t matter if you’ve never painted before,” says Camp. “People are happy to tell me.”

The camp says members tend to be more active seniors in the community, but it’s open to anyone, even if they just want to get involved.

“We are like one big family,” said Corky Coverston, who has lived in Moffat County for 45 years. “And if something happens or someone doesn’t show up, we’ll go and check on them.”

Senior Social Center members learn at lunch Tuesday, January 17, 2023.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

One of the programs within the center is the Senior Outreach Service (SOS). SOS provides in-home support for members who are homebound, recovering from illness or injury, or on low income. Staff or volunteers provide monthly phone calls, birthday and holiday cards, and small gift deliveries to improve participants’ quality of life.

“Some of the people who come here live on their own,” Coverston said. “And they can come here and talk to their friends and have their friends come and check on them when they need help at home.”

Coverston said quite a few members died from COVID-19 and it would have been difficult to return from the pandemic without them. Overall, the center also reduced the number of members participating in activities, but the center took precautionary measures and practiced social distancing during the increased months.

Levels of activity are returning to normal, Camp said, and the pandemic has also highlighted the need for senior center services in communities.

Aside from the social activities the center offers, there are also programs to help local seniors navigate Medicare enrollment and benefits. Her Director of Senior Social Center, Rebekah Greenwood, meets with seniors one-on-one to discuss plans, discuss her options, and make decisions about benefits.

In 2022, the program helped 400 people get Medicare benefits.

The center also hosts lunches, learns from featured speakers from local agencies, and presents on topics and services that apply to local seniors. In the past, the center hosted a presentation from Jennifer Riley, CEO of Memorial Regional Health.

On Friday, January 20th, the Senior Social Center will host its annual membership drive with live music and food. All are welcome as the organizers hope to spread awareness of the activities at the Center and get feedback from the community.

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